I have been designing the Foundry Group’s performance artwork for their plays for many years now. It is always a pleasure to work with them, to create something fun and captivating, which compliments their award-winning stage acts. The designs usually consist of poster and flyer designs. Sometimes there are extra elements, like web banners and adverts, that are also designed to help promote the performances online and via email too.
I will highlight the processes and thoughts behind the three sets of highlighted artwork below.
Henry VIII poster design
The artwork for the Henry VIII performance was great fun to work on. It started when I was sent a brief overview of the play along with some photos, text and a general idea of the style they wanted. Due to their performances being presented at many different venues across the UK, there is a need for a blank area for venue and date details.
Luckily, I am always provided with excellent photography to use. I select the best photos to use and produce a few rough layouts. These layouts allow me to experiment with the position of elements to ensure that the copy fits will with the overall design. Once I find a layout that works well, I can then begin getting deeper into the design. Retouching the photo to ensure that it will print well is an integral part of the process. After masking out the main character, I also replace the background, to allow the text to show well. I settled on a dark background with a subtle bokeh effect for this one.
For the Henry VIII artwork, I tried out a number of typefaces / fonts that would compliment the time period the play is set in. The lettering was all shown in gold to provide a regal feel. This was accomplished by setting out the copy and then masking the text area to show gold leaf only where the lettering is placed. This allowed the text to shine through. I found that a subtle interplay of colours was more captivating than a flat colour.
I implemented a tear away effect for the overprinting area, to avoid a simple straight line. This allowed the white area to be a part of the artwork, rather than just a cut off section added as an afterthought.
Henry VIII flyer design
The flyer design needed to tie in with the posters, but provide more information about the production. The artwork was split into two, with reduced information on the front and the main copy on the reverse. This ensured that everything was legible at the smaller size.
For the back of the flyer, I used the same background I had created for the poster, along with the gold leaf effect. I also included some fancy dividers to separate the sections of text.
Guilbert (No Sullivan) artwork
I designed both the flyer and poster for the Guilbert (No Sullivan) production, following a similar procedure to the Henry VIII ones. There was more photo manipulation and retouching involved in this design. I merged two photos, where I replaced on of the actor’s heads. I also did some colour correcting, to even out the lighting and tweak the colour values. Once I had removed the background from the characters, we tried out a number of different background colours. We settled on teal, as it was the most striking and eye-catching option.
As this performance is set in the Victorian era, I used applicable fonts to reinforce that. The title font is more ornate to draw attention to it, while the general copy uses a similar style but cleaner font. This makes larger blocks of text easier to read.
Big Daddy vs Giant Haystacks designs
For the Big Daddy vs Giant Haystacks designs, I was provided with an old wrestling poster for inspiration. I replicated the old printing style of rough edges and distorted lines. The concept was carried on throughout the lettering and other elements used. The Foundry Group required a range of different artwork to be created. These designs included posters, flyers and a range of online ads and banners. Each of the online adverts needed to be designed in a wide range of sizes and dimensions. Due to this, they were each tailored for their specific use, to ensure maximum exposure online.
If you get the chance, you should try to catch one of their brilliant plays. To find out more visit the Foundry Group’s website.
You can see the final poster designs created for the Foundry Group below.